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Living Locally

Sharp knives and happy lives at Knifewear

May 24, 2018

Kevin Kent had been working as a chef in London, England when he was introduced to the kitchen staple that would change his life forever: a Japanese knife.

It was love at first sight, and after Kevin moved back to Calgary in 2007 he started importing the coveted knives from Japan and selling them from his backpack around town on an appointment basis before opening the first Knifewear store in Inglewood a year later. Knifewear now operates five stores across Canada.

Kevin wanted Knifewear to be the one-stop knife shop, where customers from all walks of life can try the knives, learn proper cutting and sharpening techniques from experienced and passionate staff, and sometimes just to hang out.

“I think that [people hanging out at the store] constitutes success for us. We try to ensure every customer leaves happier than when they arrived.”

Knifewear is steadfast in its commitment to supporting those in need both here and in Japan. When Japan was struck with a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Kevin and his team decided to donate all proceeds from their sharpening fees to Red Cross for a month – which became three months, then the rest of the year. Eventually this evolved into donating half of the sharpening fees to different charities year-round.

“I think it’s important to give back,” he says.

Kevin has been keeping extremely busy between appearances on cooking shows like Stump Kitchen (featuring its one-handed host chef Alexis Hillyard, who uses Knifewear knives), a book in the works for October release, and two new Knifewear locations coming to Toronto, Ontario and Kyoto, Japan.

“I think that buying a knife should be the best day of the year. If you have excellent tools for the kitchen, then you’ll be happy cooking.”


Check out a Knifewear store near you or shop online.
Sign up for sharpening and cutting classes here.
Connect with Knifewear on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Check out Knifewear’s Sustainability Profile on the REAP website.

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Did you know?

86% of Albertans are happiest when they feel healthy